We have good news for the residents of Ward 3 in Tucson: You have three good candidates to choose from in the Democratic primary election on Aug. 29.
The candidates — Felicia Chew, Paul Durham and Tom Tronsdal — are grounded in the needs and opportunities of Ward 3, a swath of mid-Tucson that includes the economically stressed Flowing Wells, Amphi, Jefferson Park and Dodge Flower neighborhoods.
One candidate stands out among this capable crowd: Tom Tronsdal. His pragmatic problem-solving approach, experience as a business owner and deep roots in his community make him the best candidate.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Gary Watson, an independent, in the November general election to replace Karin Uhlich, who is retiring from the council. There are no Republican candidates running.
Tronsdal grew up in Ward 3 and his experience shows up in his command of what’s important to residents and how he dissects issues.
For example, he understands the necessity of affordable and accessible public transportation, in part because he relied on the bus to get to school and work growing up.
When asked if he would ever support a fare increase, he gave an answer that serves many in his ward but includes the bigger city-wide picture. In short, he said he would never support an increase on the discounted low-income bus passes but would consider other fare changes.
Ward 3 has many high-poverty neighborhoods where most residents rent rather than own their homes. Increasing homeownership can help increase stability, but the matter goes much deeper than renting vs. owning, as Tronsdal points out. The city has an important role to play in making sure landlords are keeping their properties in good, livable condition, he said.
Tronsdal’s business experience will be an asset to the council. He sees the potential in Ward 3 but also the roadblocks to prosperity. “Ward 3 is missing a comprehensive economic development plan,” he said in an interview.
“We can’t ignore the people who are here now,” he said.
In June, the Tucson City Council passed a resolution that decried the border wall that President Trump has promised, and it called for the city to divest any holdings in companies that do work on the planned wall.
All three candidates said they support the resolution in concept — they’re against the wall — but disagreed about the relevance of the action. We agree with Tronsdal’s approach of agreeing with the statement, thinking it’s important to take a stand but recognizing that the most effective action the Tucson City Council can take is to make sure its own programs and policies assist affected residents locally. “Symbolism is symbolism, but how can we do things in Tucson to help people?” he said.
Tronsdal’s experience, pragmatism and thoughtful understanding of the needs of Ward 3 and belief in its potential make him the best Democratic candidate for Tucson City Council.